On March 1, 1788, the good folks of Frankland (aka Franklin)franklin gave up their hopes of becoming one of the 14 original US states. It was a short rocky road for the would-be state created four years earlier when four North Carolina counties declared their independence. North Carolina had ceded its claims to the land west of the Allegheny Mountains, giving control to the US Congress. The settlers in this area feared that the government might sell the land to Spain, or worse still France.

The counties petitioned Congress for statehood as “Frankland.” Alas, the vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority needed to pass, even after an attempt to suck up to Benjamin Franklin and his friends by naming the state after him.

So Franklin had a go at becoming an independent nation,with its very own constitution, treaties and an official barter system, since they had no currency. Suffering from a weak economy, Franklin approached the Spanish for aid. North Carolina, not wanting an ally of Spain at its border, promptly tossed Franklin’s governor in jail. The final straw came when the Cherokee, Chickamauga and Chickasaw began to attack Franklin settlements. Franklinites quickly returned home to North Carolina with tails between their legs and sought the protection of its militia.

American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist, Harry Belafonte was born on March 1, 1927. Known as the King of Calypso, he brought Caribbean music to an international audience in the 1950s. His 1956 album Calypso , featuring such signature songs as “Day-O” and “Jamaica Farewell.” was the first album by a single artist to sell a million copies.

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